Guess what I have been noticing lately? It is something that makes this mama’s (and teacher’s) heart so happy. I have noticed an increased focus on math and number activities for preschool!
I remember very well when the focus seemed to be solely on learning those ABCs. But, slowly and surely, I have seen an understanding of the importance of early math skills grow. Because of this, all of these little math seeds are now being planted in very young children—and it is such a beautiful thing!
For that reason, I thought today I would break down some number activities for preschoolers. You see, learning numbers is actually made up of a few different steps:
Counting: This is the skill of knowing the order the numbers occur. This is the skill of reciting the numbers 1, 2, 3. It is NOT the skill of seeing a 3 and saying “three” – that skill is called number recognition.
Number Recognition: Well, that is the skill of seeing a 3 and saying “three” (echo).
One-to-One Correspondence: This is the number skill that involves seeing one object and counting it as the number one. Or, seeing five objects and counting them one at a time, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
These three skills are all critical to give children a rock-solid foundation in math.
And if you really want a super handy, step-by-step guide full of playful activities at your fingertips, grab a copy of my ebook, Play into Numbers and Math. Or for the complete preschool experience, try Play into Kindergarten Readiness!
Number Activities for Preschoolers
Now, let’s get right to those number activities for preschool, shall we? They are divided into the different categories we chatted about above, as well as one bonus category because, well, learning numbers is FUN!
This is a great place to start when doing number activities for preschoolers. It is simply being able to recite the numbers in order, out loud. This doesn’t mean the child is aware of the quantity it represents or the way the number is written. For this reason, there are not too many counting activities for me to share! Songs are a fabulous way to teach counting though:
Counting Songs by Childhood 101 – When first learning number order, songs and rhymes are definitely the way to go! Here is a great resource of number songs to get you started!
Number recognition is the ability to see a number 2 and say that it is a number two. It does not yet involve the ability to count out 2 individual items, it is simply recognizing the numeral.
Games with Magic and Counting – Well, let’s start things off with a bang – or at least a fizz. Using baking soda and vinegar, this number game for kids is a hit!
Nancy Numberface – This is such a fun way to practice number recognition with preschoolers. If you have a little one that loves crafts, this one is sure to be a favourite.
Stuffed Felt Number – A fun way to practice each number name and get familiar with the numbers is to create these cozy stuffed felt numbers.
Even More Creative Number Recognition Activities!
Number Formation Connect-the-Dots by Fun Learning For Kids – These activities are a great way for children to practice number order. It’s even more fun if the image turns out to be a number itself! Genius!
Missing Number Game by Planning Play Time – Simply count out loud with your child or use a rhyming song to help them figure out the missing number.
Number Line Mystery Game by Kindergals – Number activities for preschoolers that you can take on the go are always a win! Kings are laid out to establish four rows, then your child creates a number line for each suit. Variations of this game are also suggested.
Number Tower by Activity Mom – Adding numbers to paper cups or LEGO bricks is a great way to encourage your child to order their numbers.
Toilet Paper Roll Number Chain by Hands on as We Grow – Your preschooler can use this number chain when counting out loud or in a number recognition game.
Picture Number Puzzles by Passionate Homeschooling – In this wonderful number activity for preschoolers, kiddos use the image to help confirm their number order and vice versa.
Number Weave by Toddlers at Play – This is such a fun way to get your preschoolers’ hands moving while they practice their counting out loud.
Recognizing numbers means your preschooler can see the shape of a “5” and call it “five.”
Number Line Whack by Sara J Creations – Once you or your child order the numbers on a string, they will be ready to race and play. The more the merrier!
LEGO Numbers by Life Over C’s – This free printable can be used for building numbers out of LEGO and showing quantities.
Number Playdough Mats by Preschool Play and Learn – Practice numeracy and fine motor skills all in one shot with this free printable!
Teaching Phone Numbers by Teaching Mama – This is a great way to practice number recognition while helping your children learn a real-world, practical skill.
Guess the Hidden Numbers by Wide Bay Kids – Add a next-level challenge to number recognition with this low-prep activity. Make it more or less easy by changing the size and number of reveal boxes.
Great Ideas for Recognising Bigger Numbers
Number Hop by Gift of Curiosity – Add numbers to the floor with cards or tape. Call out a number and challenge your child to jump to it.
Number Formation Puzzle by Toddler at Play – These puzzles really help your preschooler take a closer look at how numbers are formed. They are easy to make and you can take them anywhere!
Window Number Games by Where Imagination Grows – Use window markers to create your own connect-the-dot or number matching activities. A fun game to play is to call out a number and have your preschooler erase it.
Number Scavenger Hunt by Mrs. Pelmon’s Kindergarten – Have your child call out the numbers they find as they go.
Learning Math with Playing Cards – If you have a single pack of playing cards (any type at all) you have a fabulous math activity for preschoolers! This is an excellent number activity for preschool.
One-to-one correspondence is a tricky skill that we call counting in everyday speech. When a preschooler understands this concept, they will say one number for every single object they touch while counting. Before understanding this concept, a child may touch one object and say “one, two, three.” Then they touch another object and say “four, five.” Most importantly, this skill requires the ability to recite numbers in order (counting) and occasionally requires number recognition.
Math Flowers – Crafting is a great way to help little ones engage in what they are learning. These simple math flowers combine one-to-one correspondence with number recognition too!
Post-it Number Match by Busy Toddler – Write actual numbers on the paper for your child to simply match the pair if they are struggling with 1:1 correspondence.
Walk the Number Line Game by PBS – Number activities for preschoolers that practice all three skills will definitely keep them on their toes – and this is one of them!
Using Household Items for One-to-one Correspondence
Number Line Game by Days with Grey – Preschoolers see a powerful visual of quantities and come to learn that each successive number represents “one more thing.”
Pom-Pom Activity by Laughing Kids Learn – This low-prep activity can be modified based on what you have at home. Different objects and containers can be just as effective, and using tongs helps develop fine motor skills.
Playing with a Ten Frame by Busy Toddler – This number activity for preschool is great for one-to-one correspondence, but also helps them visualize quantities. Busy Toddler explains the usefulness of ten frames very well here.
Dot Sticker and Uno Card Match Game by Happy Toddler Playtime – After completing this sticker match game, children can sort the cards by color or in correct numerical order.
One More, One Less Activity by Fantastic Fun and Learning – This number activity for preschoolers is a little more complex, but it is such a good one I couldn’t NOT include it here. (I know, I know – double negatives. Good thing this isn’t a grammar round-up!) Your child will use objects to represent the quantities that precede and follow a given number.
Getting Creative with Numbers
Creative number activities for preschoolers allow our little ones to become more familiar with numbers in a different context. Because of this, it often helps solidify learning.
Finger Painting Number Quantities by 123 Homeschooling 4 Me – Use these free printables or draw your own objects and ask your kiddos to finger paint the correct number of items.
Q-tip Number Tracing by Toddler at Play – Your preschooler can either trace the number or dot along the shape of the number to create it.
Exploding Numbers by First Palette – Your preschooler can use these stunning numbers to create their own learning number cards or to make decorations for a birthday party! All you need is paint and a regular paintbrush to create these effects.
Bet You Haven’t Seen These Number Activities!
Build-a-Bug Number Activity by Preschool Play – This is such an adorable number activity for preschoolers and would make for a great preschool or kindergarten center. Use various materials and pick the theme your kids will be most interested in.
Bead and Pipecleaners Number Activity by Teacher Beside Me – This number activity for preschoolers is a great stand-alone 1:1 correspondence activity, but could easily turn into a craft. Decide in advance how many beads of each color you plan to use. Count each color out loud with your preschooler as you make a bracelet or necklace.
Invisible Numbers Crayon Resist by First Palette – Use a white crayon to arrange numbers on a page and have your child paint over them. They can call out the numbers they find as they go.
Most importantly, these activities are fun! Fun activities like these number activities for preschool can truly be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Now we know all there is to know about numbers! This gives us ways to break this task apart and teach it step-by-step. I hope this post has been helpful to you!
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